Mansfield, Richland County, Ohio, Teacher & His Class, c1900

Teacher & Students, Mansfield, OH, c1900

Being a retired teacher must be what draws me to these old school photos.

This one was taken in Mansfield, Richland County, Ohio around 1900 or so. It’s in very good condition. I love the girls in front who are in school with no shoes to wear! We take a lot for granted nowadays.

Even though no one in the photo is identified by name, I couldn’t pass up buying this inexpensive picture. I was hoping to search the census to find a man who might have been enumerated as a teacher.

I also put that idea aside, but remembered that I could search by occupation. Results for male teachers who lived in Mansfield brought up fewer than two dozen. Even though it’s difficult to date people in old photos, the teacher definitely doesn’t look like a man in his 20’s.

That left only eight possibilities:

1. William B. Sleeper, 38, in Ward 1
2. David Channing Meck, 37, in Ward 2
3. John Shafer, 37, in Ward 1
4. Benjamin Williams, 46, in Ward 1
5. Delano Shaffer, 39, in Ward 9
6. Frank Jamison, 52, in Ward 2
7. Christian Etz, 49, in Ward 8
8. Samuel Stewart Dew, 41, in Ward 1

I actually found a photo of Delano Shaffer and he looks nothing like the teacher so the list is down to seven possibilities.

I tend to think the teacher isn’t David Channing Meck, either, because in later censuses he is a lawyer.

However, there is no sign of any photos of the other men online. There might be one more possibility. After a bit of searching, I discovered the Richland County Historical Society, located right in Mansfield. The historical society might have photographs of some of these people, particularly if they were teachers.

After contacting the society and learning that they would love to have the photo regardless of whether or not the teacher (or any of the students) can be identified, I sent the photograph back home to them where it belongs.

Maybe there are still descendants living in the area who might recognize a family member in the photo. That would be really neat!

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